Remote Research

What to do when your access to print materials is extremely limited

Look in multiple places

  • HOLLIS's Everything is NOT everything
    • Some items may lack a "View Online" button and yet still be available to you via another platform
    • Use the "book" and "online" filters in HOLLIS to check if there's a separate listing for the ebook version (usually they appear close together)
  • Look for temporarily expanded access: many publishers and vendors have increased your Harvard Key can access and/or removed paywalls altogether
  • If a scholarly book you're seeking is among the first published works of its author, it's possible that it may have existed in dissertation form, first. Consider checking ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global, which offers many dissertations in full text format (but be sure to check with your professor before relying on research available in dissertations).
  • Don't forget your public library! It may offer resources not available through Harvard (e.g. Kindle-format ebooks)
    • Harvard students are eligible for an ecard to the Boston Public Library
    • Check your local public library's website (or just Google: [town name] [state] public library ebooks)
    • Look for statewide options for your state (e.g. TexShare) and nearby university libraries.
  • Ask me for suggestions and ideas!

Can't access something? Learn *about* it

Don't forget to browse!

Most experts recommend browsing (walking the library shelves, flipping through an entire volume) as the best method to gain a sense of the "landscape" and to find overlooked or unexpected material

  • Starts with/browse option in HOLLIS - call number is especially helpful. (See the HOLLIS User Guide for tips.)
  • Most platforms offer ways to explore serendipitously. Look for:
    • "collections"
    • "browse"
    • "publications"
    • "about"
  • When you find good content, look at the top of the web page and on side menus for links back to the larger container so you can explore that---the specific issue an article appeared in, the journal, the book or book series, the themed collection, etc.

Need primary sources? Try these:


Searchable Full Text Scholarship